Skip to content
Answer to "You make the call"

Answer to "You make the call"

Here is the answer to Don Drysdale hitting Dick Dietz and whether he got to take first base or not. He did not. The umpire made the correct call. Here is the story as told by Wayne Stewart: 

 Dietz does not get to take a leisurely walk to first base. While Dietz was hit by the pitch, Harry Wendelstedt, in just his second year umping in the majors, made a gutsy and perfectly correct call. He decided that Dietz, in making no effort to avoid being struck, gave up his right to first base. Because the pitch was inside, it was called ball three and Drysdale eventually induced Dietz to fly out to shallow left field, keeping his remarkable streak intact. Sucking it up even more, Drysdale then got out of his jam by retiring two pinch hitters--Ty Cline hit into a first-to-home force play, Wes Parker to Jeff Torborg, and Jack Hiatt popped up to Parker. In his next start on June 4, he lowered his ERA to 1.31, knocking off the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jim Bunning, yet another future Hall of Fame pitcher, 5-0. The shutout string eventually ran just one out shy of fifty-nine consecutive scoreless innings and covered a record six straight shutouts.

Drysdale's skein ended after opening his June 8 start with four and two-thirds scoreless innings before surrendering a sacrifice fly. His record was one that would hold up for almost exactly twenty years until 1988, when a fellow Dodger great, Orel Hershiser, officially went him one out better, working fifty-nine straight shutout innings (wrapping the record up on his last start of September 28) before his skein ended in the first inning of Opening Day of the following season. His streak, then, stayed locked in at fifty-nine innings. Personal comment: I wish more umpires would make this call! I have seen this ploy by a lot of players over the years. And when I umpired high school ball I would call the batter back. Some would lean into the pitch to try and get hit, some would lift their elbow to try and get it hit. Or some would not move at all. Some would crowd the plate and even get hit by a strike call and try and take first base.

Previous article Fair or Foul?
Next article You make the call - 2

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields